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Ashwagandha For Stress and Sleep Management

Last updated: June-16,2021

Ashwagandha for Sleep and Stress Management

The adaptogens market is slated to grow at a CAGR of 8.55%. This will make its value soar from USD 2.4 million in 2019 to USD 3.3 million in 2025. Ashwagandha, a popular adaptogen, is leading this market growth.[i]

Ashwagandha has been a part of traditional ayurvedic medicines for centuries. It has been used to help support the immune system and promote relaxation.

New research has revealed that a high concentration Ashwagandha root extract (in the form of supplements) can be an effective tool to counter occasional sleeplessness and stress. As sleep and stress-related concerns rise globally, Ashwagandha is expected to gain massive popularity in the consumer market. The main barrier is expected to be a lack of understanding of the health benefits Ashwagandha possesses.[ii]

This blog aims to discuss sleep and stress management health benefits supplement brand owners need to know about Ashwagandha and its market potential as a supplement.

What is Ashwagandha?

Ashwagandha, a small, woody shrub found growing in Africa, the Mediterranean, and India, has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for over 3000 years.[iii] Ashwagandha, referred to as a “royal herb,” is said to have rejuvenating effects. It acts on various body systems such as neurological, immune, energy production, endocrine, and reproductive.[iv] Ashwagandha’s adaptogenic properties have broad-ranging effects. They normalize physiological processes in times of increased stress to help the body adapt.[v] Withanolides, essential active compounds in Ashwagandha, are steroidal lactones. But that’s not all, as there are other compounds also present in Ashwagandha, including alkaloids and saponins.[vi]

Can Ashwagandha Support Stress Management?

The aforementioned broad-ranging effects of Ashwagandha are a function of its adaptogenic properties, which help the body to adapt by normalizing physiological processes in times of increased stress.[vii] So, by definition, Ashwagandha as an adaptogen can indeed support stress management.

What Do Studies Say About Ashwagandha on Stress Management?

In Asia, Ashwagandha has been used historically to treat stress-related health conditions. In one study, researchers investigated the effects of standardized Ashwagandha root and leaf extract in stressed humans in a clinical trial.[viii] Ashwagandha root and leaf extract, or placebo, was assigned to participants randomly and in varying doses. Between Days 0 and 60, the subjects who received 125 mg of Ashwagandha root and leaf extract per day experienced a significantly larger percentage decrease for the average anxiety score, serum cortisol (the “stress hormone”), serum C-reactive protein (an inflammatory marker), pulse rate and blood pressure, than the ones who received the placebo. In addition, those receiving 125 mg/day Ashwagandha root and leaf extract had an improvement in the sleeplessness score from 3.1 on day 0 to 1.9 on day 30 to 0.9 on day 60—a percentage change of about 71%. Therefore, this study provides evidence that the consumption of Ashwagandha root and leaf extract significantly reduced experiential and biochemical indicators of stress without adverse effects.

In another double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial, the safety and efficacy of a high-concentration full-spectrum extract of Ashwagandha roots (600 mg/day) was examined for reducing stress and anxiety and in improving the general well-being of 61 adults who were under stress.[ix] Results showed that the Ashwagandha root extract group exhibited a significant reduction in scores on all the stress-assessment scales relative to the placebo group. This included a 69.7% reduction for the “Anxiety and Insomnia.” The serum cortisol levels were substantially reduced as well, relative to the placebo group. In conclusion, the findings of this study suggest that Ashwagandha root extract safely and effectively improves an individual’s resistance towards stress and thereby improves self-assessed quality of life.

Yet a third study was conducted with 50 stressed subjects who received either an Ashwagandha root extract(600 mg/day) or placebo, daily for eight weeks. The purpose of the study was to evaluate the efficacy of Ashwagandha root extract compared with placebo in reducing markers of stress, controlling weight gain, and improving general well-being in adults under chronic stress.[x] The results were that Ashwagandha root extract reduced food cravings and body weight more effectively than placebo while also reducing measures of stress and cortisol.

Can Ashwagandha Support Sleep Management?

The leaves and roots of Ashwagandha contain compounds that have been found to support sleep and help calm the brain.[xi] It’s due to the calming combination of these effects that Ashwagandha is gaining popularity for its ability to support relaxation and restful sleep.

What Do Studies Say About Ashwagandha On Sleep Management?

Research on Ashwagandha indicates that adaptogens, like this herb, have compounds that provide therapeutic benefits that help ease stress and frustration. As previously mentioned, research has shown that supplementation with Ashwagandha root and leaf extract resulted in an improvement in the sleeplessness score by about 71%, thereby supporting a good night’s sleep. All this has been shown to ease the body and mind and to help reduce occasional sleeplessness.[xii]

Does Ashwagandha Help Improve Sleep?

Studies have shown that higher stress levels affect the sleep cycle and may shorten the overall amount of good sleep an individual gets. As previously discussed, scientific evidence has pointed towards Ashwagandha’s effects to help the body get into a state of relaxation, supporting better quality sleep for a longer time.[xiii]

What are Ashwagandha Supplements?

Ashwagandha supplements are made from the extracts of the different parts of the Withaniasomnifera plant. Available as extracts and powders or in the form of capsules and pills, they have been used by consumers for their numerous health benefits. They are a convenient way to derive all possible advantages of this plant. Whichever form it is in – there’s a promising market for each.

What Forms do Ashwagandha Supplements Come in?

The popular forms of Ashwagandha supplements are capsules, tablets, and powders. Depending on the requirements of your target audience, you can choose to create Ashwagandha tablets, capsules, or powders with appropriate doses.

Current Market Size and Trends for Ashwagandha Supplements

A Consumer Reports study revealed that out of 4,023 U.S. adults surveyed – 7% said they had trouble falling asleep or staying asleep most nights. 68% — or an estimated 164 million Americans—struggled with sleep at least once a week.[xiv] [xv]

Analysts predict that consumers will spend over USD 101.9 billion in the sleep aid category by 2023. This is most likely what is empowering the boom of the Ashwagandha market. According to the Herb Market Report, Ashwagandha was the fifth highest-selling herbal ingredient in the U.S. natural retail channel. It has USD 13.9 million in total sales. Within the mainstream U.S. channel in that same year, the herb saw the third-highest sales growth. In 2020, SPINS data showed a 3995% increase in the sale of Ashwagandha in the U.S. mainstream sleep-support category.

According to Herbalgram’s latest market report, the herb ranked #7 in the natural channel and #34 in the mass market. That’s an enormous increase of 166% from the previous year. Therefore, this supplement has enormous potential to take the market by storm in the years to come.

How Can NSL Help in Manufacturing Ashwagandha Supplements?

To ensure the quality and efficacy of herbal supplements, brand owners must always contact an experienced contract manufacturer. We at NutraScience Labs, are turnkey service providers with over half a century of combined experience in the nutraceutical industry. We assist you throughout the entire process and are proud to provide excellent customer service. Request a free quote today or call us today at 855-492-7388!


[i] https://www.globenewswire.com/news-release/2020/12/30/2151528/28124/en/Global-Adaptogens-Market-2020-2025-Adaptogens-are-Used-as-a-Substitute-for-CBD.html

[ii] https://www.nutraingredients-usa.com/Article/2019/10/11/Study-Ashwagandha-may-lower-stress-improve-sleep

[iii] Anonymous. Monograph. Withaniasomnifera. Altern Med Rev 2004;9:211-4. 

[iv] Singh, N., Bhalla, M., de Jager, P. and Gilca, M. An Overview on Ashwagandha: A Rasayana (Rejuvenator) of Ayurveda. Afr J Tradit Complement Altern Med 2011;8:208-13.

[v] Provino R. The role of adaptogens in stress management. Aust J Med Herbal.2010;22:41-9

[vi]  Uddin, Q., Samiulla, L., Singh, V.K. and Jamil, S.S. Phytochemical and Pharmacological Profile of WithaniasomniferaDunal: A Review. JAPS 2012;2:170-5.

[vii]  Provino R. The role of adaptogens in stress management. Aust J Med Herbal.2010;22:41-9

[viii] Auddy B, Hazra J, Mitra A, Abedon B, Ghosal S. A Standardized Withania Somnifera Extract Significantly Reduces Stress-Related Parameters in Chronically Stressed Humans: A Double-Blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Study. JANA. 2008;11(1):2008:50-56.

[ix] Chandrasekhar K, Kapoor J, Anishetty S. A Prospective, Randomized Double-Blind, Placebo Controlled Study of Safety and Efficacy of a High Concentration Full-Spectrum Extract of Ashwagandha Root in Reducing Stress and Anxiety in Adults. Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine. 2012;34(3):255-262.

[x] Choudhary D, Bhattacharyya S, Joshi K. Body Weight Management in Adults Under Chronic Stress Through Treatment With Ashwagandha Root Extract: A Double-Blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Trial. J Evid Based Complementary Altern Med. 2016 Apr 6. pii: 2156587216641830. [Epub ahead of print]

[xi] https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-953/ashwagandha

[xii] https://www.getroman.com/health-guide/ashwagandha-for-sleep/

[xiii] https://www.nutraingredients-usa.com/Article/2019/10/11/Study-Ashwagandha-may-lower-stress-improve-sleep

[xiv] https://www.consumerreports.org/sleep/why-americans-cant-sleep/

[xv] https://www.nutritionaloutlook.com/view/ashwagandha-sales-grew-in-2020-experts-discuss-how-it-will-lead-the-mainstreaming-of-adaptogens-in-2021-2021-ingredient-trends-to-watch-for-food-drinks-and-dietary-supplements

June 16th, 2021

About the Author:

Gene Bruno

Gene Bruno, MS, MHS, RH(AHG) - Mr. Bruno possesses over 43 years of dietary supplement industry experience. With a Master's degree in nutrition and a second Master's degree in herbal medicine, he has a proven track record of formulating innovative, evidence-based dietary supplements. Mr. Bruno currently serves as both the Senior Director of Product Innovation at Twinlab Corporation and Professor of Nutraceutical Science at Huntington University of Health Sciences.